I’ve read comments from Dylan fans along the lines of “If I had access to a time machine, the ‘Royal Albert Hall’ concert is the moment in history I’d revisit.” As for me, I’d probably opt for sometime during the Roman Empire, but I can appreciate the sentiment. Certainly it would have been something to watch this concert live, both for the music and the history.
Yesterday I featured the performance that closed Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There and today I’m moving to the song that closes Martin Scorsese’s fabulous Dylan documentary No Direction Home. (If you haven’t seen that film, do so immediately.)
I deliberately avoided mentioning ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ in my write-up of Highway 61 Revisited yesterday because I didn’t want to steal the thunder from today’s post. That’s a bit like writing about Michaelangelo works displayed in Florence without mentioning the David.
For all of the many genres and musical styles Dylan has explored, all of the topics he’s covered, ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ remains in many ways the quintessential Dylan song. It was voted as the #1 song of all-time in a Rolling Stone survey of musicians and critics published in 2004. And whether or not you share that opinion, it’s impossible to deny that it’s one of the few songs that unquestionably deserves to be in the running.